into the Super Mom myth is unrealistic, and many times, the source
of postpartum depression.
Ilyene Barsky, LCSW
depression (PPD) often goes unrecognized. Many healthcare professionals
have been sold by the media into thinking that having a baby is
joyous and trouble-free. Women often don't realize that their symptoms
actually have a name. A new mom may secretly believe that she is
the only one who can't keep the house in order, can't sleep at night,
can't help shouting at the children or nagging her partner.
the time we are little girls, we are conditioned to the image of
the "perfect mom." We are also supposed to have constant
loving and protective feelings toward our children which are supposed
to develop immediately after giving birth. What about women who
don't bond immediately and may be unfulfilled by mothering? Often
they are left with a sense of failure, inadequacy and disappointment.
Another myth suggests that mothering is innate, intuitive and natural.
Mothers who are unable to comfort or soothe their crying or colicky
baby are viewed as being unable to mother.
greatest myth of all is that motherhood is supposed to be the happiest
time in a woman's life. As Sheila Kitzinger says in Women as
Mothers, "There is so little recognition of what is actually
involved in the fatiguing task of being a mother. Women are usually
made to explain their postpartum experience in terms of internal
state: their hormones, their psyches and their inadequate personalities
instead of their realities."
Super Mom myth makes it difficult for women to admit to problems
after the birth. Often women suffering from PPD not only suffer
in silence, but try to conceal their distress from others. In our
society, we seem willing only to focus on the positive side of motherhood.
New mothers often feel frightened and alone. Becoming a mother is
a process. We learn to become
mothers. And bonding may not occur immediately.
pressures for new mothers to drop out of major interests and to
be with their babies constantly seems to be a significant contributor
to postpartum depression. A lot of attention is paid to staying
home with the child, but little to how to help mothers who make
this choice. Also, women who return to paid work are regarded as
cold and unresponsive to the needs of her baby. It is a myth
that the infant will suffer unless the mother is always present.
societal myths encourage a woman to fuse and confuse themselves
as people with the role of mother. It is imperative that new mothers
differentiate between motherhood and reality. What these myths have
in common is that they are unrealistic - no women can live up to
these expectations. Mothering is extremely hard work, whether a
woman stays at home or combines it with paid work. The myth of a
perfect mother who has it all together is just that - a myth.